Another nail in the coffin for Windows 7
Microsoft has confirmed that Office 2019 will ship in the second half of this year, but when it does become available you’ll need to have a PC running Windows 10in order to benefit from the next-gen productivity suite.
In a blog post, Microsoft clarified that the new version of Office will only run on Windows 10 (or the next long-time-servicing-channel release of Windows Server).
So those running Windows 7 or 8 are out of luck if they wanted to plump for the standalone Office apps, as opposed to Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription option, Office 365.
In other words, this is another sizeable shove for those who have yet to upgrade to Windows 10, and a further reminder that Microsoft’s focus is moving away from its older desktop operating systems.
Doubtless there are many individual users out there who won’t appreciate the prodding.
Moreover, when it comes to businesses, where upgrading a whole fleet of machines is a whole different world to firing up an upgrade on a single PC – in terms of both organization issues and cost, as well as potential legacy app considerations – this move may run the risk of causing serious alienation for those who don’t want to be pushed into either Windows 10 or Office 365.
This new tack could backfire if such companies decide to dig their heels in, instead, and make the decision that they will now stick with Windows 7 and an older standalone version of Office.
And as the support deadline for that OS looms, they might further consider a switch to open source as an escape route: the Linux plus LibreOffice (or similar) path. Although that brings complications of its own in terms of staff having to adapt to a whole new OS and software, with businesses having to consider training costs and so forth.
As mentioned, Office 2019 will be out in the second half of this year, although the beta apps will be deployed in the second quarter (so possibly April at the earliest).
Microsoft further noted that while mainstream support for Office 2019 would run for the usual five years, extended support would be curtailed to just two years – down from five years – meaning the suite will run out of support road in 2025.
Microsoft describes Office 2019 as the next ‘perpetual’ version of the suite, meaning that it is standalone software that can be installed on-premise (rather than cloud-based) and is purchased with a one-off payment as opposed to an ongoing subscription.
The suite consists of the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Skype for Business apps, and comes with a ton of improvements which include the likes of new charts for Excel and fresh animations for PowerPoint, better inking features and tighter security.